|Man Without Qualities|
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Funhouse Mirror Image II: Updates
A number of readers have noted these suspicions that the French intelligence services are behind the forged Italian documents. Rathergate has more on that point.
And here are some things that Josh Marshall has had to say. [These links thanks to Tim.]
A wonderfully droll e-mail from Michael Pollard of Scrutineer.
It certainly does - at least to the evident satisfaction of Mr. Marshall! "Away with the superfluous analysis and evidence," Mr. Marshall seems to cry, "they were just window dressing, anyway!" Not only does Mr. Marshall's post display what he considers "settling" the matter, it also gives a glimpse of what a Sixty Minutes/Joshua Micah Marshall team is really capable of producing!
AND STILL MORE: I don't think e-mailer TM (not Tom Maguire) agrees with Mr. Marshall that the French connection is so easily undone:
I think the Telegraph reporting is spot on - this was a French disinfo campaign all the way. But it's worth noting that, just because the documents are fake, it doesn't mean a sale didn't take place.
In my opinion, the question of who authored the fraudulent Italian documents exists in curious tension with the claim by the International Atomic Energy Agency (reported in the older Newsweek article) that they were able to determine that the Italian documents were "a crude forgery" within two hours using the Google search engine:
How did they do it? "Google," said the official. The IAEA ran the name of the Niger foreign minister through the Internet search engine and discovered that he was not in office at the time the document was signed.
Has French intelligence really reached the point of not being able to determine when the Niger foreign minister took office? Does one even think that a group of Iraqi exiles, for another hypothetical example that has been tossed around, might make such an easily-verified "mistake?" - even such a group sufficiently sophisticated to pull off the rest of this scam? After all, couldn't whoever forged the documents have accessed Google as Newsweek asserts the IAEA claims it did? For that matter, how reliable is the material on that subject obtained from Google likely to be? Reliable enough so that the IAEA would depend on it in a case like this? Does the IAEA have absolute faith that the date on a Niger government document does not include a typographical error?
Strange it all was, passing strange.
FINAL DISPLACEMENT: CBS has now announced that the displaced item will not air before the election:
CBS News spokeswoman Kelli Edwards would not elaborate on why the timing of the Iraq report was considered inappropriate.
Too bad. So CBS thinks that the timing of the Iraq report was "inappropriate." Could a factor in that decision possibly have something to do with this report in the newer Newsweek article:
The network would “be a laughingstock,” said one source intimately familiar with the story.
Or maybe that's already a lost cause.
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